When Facebook first launched their Places platform in August 2010, one of the most controversial points was the ability for your friends to check you in anywhere. It could be innocuous, like checking you in while you’re out for lunch together, or as nefarious as checking you in to a strip club on your anniversary. This made a lot of people — me included — wary of
enabling it leaving it enabled since it could happen completely without your knowledge.
From time to time, people ask for a way to do the same thing with foursquare, but foursquare has never tested those waters. Now, with the help of a third-party app, you can check your friends in on foursquare — as long as you’ve both opted in by connecting the app to your account — but it’s not without the same concerns that plagued Facebook.
Once you and your friends have connected Here with Friends to your account, you’ll see a reminder in the Connected Apps section any time you mention them in a check-in. Tapping the reminder leads to a screen with a single button that automatically checks them in to the same place. Since they’ve authorized the app, it’s able to create check-ins on their behalf (or vice versa).
While this is a better implementation than Facebook’s since everyone involved must opt in in advance, there’s still lots of room for the same kind of hijinx found on Facebook. Once you’ve authorized the app, any of your friends could still easily check you in without your permission or knowledge, just by connecting the app to their own account.
I wouldn’t mind giving this capability to my wife and a few close friends that I trust would only check me in honestly. Adding another step to the registration process where you could choose which friends are allowed to check in on your behalf would make me much more likely to leave the app connected to my account (along with killing off the incessant reminders each time I check in and don’t mention someone).
Here with Friends was built by foursquare engineer Adam Poswolsky during foursquare’s 24-hour internal hack-a-thon last week.
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